Chicken noodle goodness in a white wine broth infused with thyme and classic aromatics.
This recipe was originally featured in Why Did the Chicken Cross the Globe?
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts if you prefer)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup diced carrot (1/4 inch dice)
1/3 cup diced celery (1/4 inch dice)
2/3 cup diced onion (1/4 inch dice)
1 cup dry white wine or dry French vermouth (such as Noilly Prat)
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock or broth (unsalted, low sodium or lightly salted)
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 pound cut pasta cooked in salted water
1. Dice the chicken thighs into pieces about 3/4-inch or less in diameter. Season generously with salt and pepper.
2. Heat the olive oil in a pot over high heat. When hot (shimmering but not yet smoking), add the chicken and allow it to brown on all sides, tossing it around with a wooden spatula as needed to keep it from burning. This should take about 5 minutes or so, depending on the heat of your stove.
3. Turn the heat down slightly to medium-high and add the carrots and celery to the pot. Allow them to soften slightly with the chicken for about 3 minutes, then add the onions to the pot and allow them to cook alongside the other ingredients for about 3 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed so that the browned bits on the bottom of the pan don't burn.
4. Add the wine to the pot and turn the heat to high. Deglaze the pan with the wine by scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spatula as the liquid boils and reduces in volume by about half.
5. Stir in the chicken stock or broth, the thyme and the bay leaf and bring the soup back to a boil. Turn the heat to medium-low and put the lid askew. Allow the soup to simmer gently for about 15 minutes.
6. Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings as needed. Add pasta just before serving.
Use a smallish cut pasta such as fusilli or elbows, so they can easily fit on your spoon. I often use whole wheat pasta for this because it makes the whole thing feel just more substantial and nourishing. But you do whatever floats your boat!
You can either cook the pasta ahead, or cook the pasta in a separate pot alongside the soup. Whenever you cook it, be sure to cook the pasta in well-salted water, and stop cooking when it reaches the al dente stage. It will continue to cook in the soup, and could end up a little soggy if well-cooked initially.
If you cook the pasta ahead, you'll want to keep it from clumping together in a big unappetizing mass before you use it. The best way to do this is to spread the hot, drained pasta onto a rimmed baking sheet or a couple large plates in roughly one layer to cool. Stir the pasta around on the tray after a few minutes. This lets all the pasta pieces cool and stop cooking at about the same rate and keep them from sticking together too much. Once the pasta is cool, you can store it loosely packed in a covered container in the fridge until you're ready to use it.